Crossing from the West Coast Fever to the Melbourne Vixens for season 2022, up and coming defender Olivia Lewis is set to pull on the Vixens dress for the first time this weekend in the club's two pre-season clashes against the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
“I’m just itching to play and it’s really exciting getting to be a part of the Vixens more officially. I guess just playing with the girls as well - that’s what we’re there for, to play netball. It’s nice to be able to do that in some new colours.
“It’s just an exciting time I think for the group anyway. It’s exciting to be getting back out on the netball court, it feels like the pre-season has been a longer one even though it really hasn’t.”
Although still deemed the new kid on the block, Olivia has quickly found her feet within the Vixens group.
“Everyone has really welcomed me into the group. The off-court connections obviously do transfer on court and I think the group as a whole has a really strong connection away from the netball court,” she said.
Heading to Traralgon this weekend, Olivia will join her new defensive teammates in Jo Weston and Emily Mannix down back in their first hit-out of the year.
“Working down in the backend with Jo, Em and Keddy [Kate Eddy] has been unreal.
“We all get along really well. Learning off Jo who’s come back from Diamonds, and Em who’s been in the Diamonds environment before, and Keddy’s just an absolute gun.”
Playing with plenty of formidable names at the Fever including the likes of Courtney Bruce, Olivia highlighted how being immersed in a fresh environment with different ways of thinking has further enhanced her defensive game play.
“Getting exposure to players that you wouldn’t normally play with, the feedback that they give me out there and vice versa, we all connect really well on court. It’s all really exciting to keep building those combinations. There’s still a couple of months until the season starts so it’s nice to keep building those connections in the pre-season.”
After a gruelling pre-season, Olivia is looking forward to getting out on court and implementing the practices she has been working on at training.
“I guess it’s just building better consistency from the start of the year. Getting myself out there and really just giving it a good solid crack.
“I don’t want to have any regrets this whole year – that’s sort of my mantra this year in general. It’s the time to try new things and see what works and what doesn’t work.
“For me personally, being new to the group it’s important to kind of put myself out there like that and put myself in a really good position and feel confident going into the year. I’m feeling confident in the team as well and it will be good to put out some good performances as a team.”
Coming up against the Thunderbirds over the weekend, Olivia and the team have steered away from focusing on their opposition and instead turned to nutting out their tactics and most importantly their structures.
“We haven’t really put a lot of focus on the opposition - it’s a lot more how we want to play, our processes, so that’s where the energy and focus has been which I really enjoy. At the end of the day we can’t control what they do, we can only control how we play out there.
“We’ve definitely got some very specific focuses going into the games and I back that if we play our best netball then we’ll be able to beat anyone. It’s really exciting.”
Still new to the state, Olivia is not only excited about the two pre-season matches but so too the chance to get into regional Victoria and provide the fans with some live netball.
“It’s good to actually get out into the community and play in front of the fans out there. Everyone in Victoria has been starved of live sport the past couple of years, so to be able to not just play in Melbourne but also in those regional towns as well, I think it’s super important and a great opportunity to showcase SSN to the broader Victoria.”
The pre-season tournament will provide not only Olivia, but the entire team a chance to solidify connections across the court ahead of Team Girls Cup on 25-27 February and Round 1 on 27 March against the Queensland Firebirds.